Felipe Massa’s old Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley believes the Brazilian driver has the “personal right” to pursue the 2008 Drivers’ Championship.
Massa is taking legal action against the FIA and Formula 1, as a result of ex-F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone revealing last year that himself and FIA president at the time Max Mosley knew about ‘Crashgate’ when it happened.
‘Crashgate’ is the term which was given to the infamous incident which took place at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, where Renault instructed Nelson Piquet Jr. to purposefully crash.
Piquet crashing resulted in a Safety Car, which the French manufacturer capitalised on to get Fernando Alonso – he was racing for them at the time – into the lead of the race.
Massa had been leading but ended up finishing outside the points, whilst Alonso claimed victory.
Ecclestone and Mosley knew about Renault’s actions at the time but opted to say nothing to protect the sport, who weren’t informed of what the French side had done until 2009.
When Renault’s manipulation of the race was confirmed to the world in 2009, Massa was told that the results from the race couldn’t be cancelled, as the FIA prize-giving gala had already taken place.
Had the results been cancelled, then Massa would’ve claimed the championship instead of Lewis Hamilton.
Massa had ultimately accepted that nothing would be changed, until Ecclestone’s comments last year resulted in the Brazilian driver hiring a team of lawyers to take legal action against the FIA and F1.
Smedley remains a “really good pal” of Massa’s and believes he has every right to fight for the 2008 crown, as the ex-F1 driver “feels strongly and passionately” about it.
However, the ex-race engineer points out that it’ll be interesting what happens going forwards if Massa’s legal action is successful, and he is awarded the 2008 title.
“I’ve always been a person that, whatever happened yesterday, whether it was good or bad, I get up and dust myself off and move on,” Smedley told The Race.
“More pots and pans, more medals whatever you want to call it, is fairly meaningless for me. I’m interested in what’s happening today and tomorrow and the day after that. But that’s my personal opinion.
“What I will say is this is something that Felipe feels strongly about. It’s no secret that Felipe is a really good pal of mine.
“If this is something that he feels strongly and passionately about – and he when he talks about it he’s very compelling and convincing in the fact that he’s doing this for what he feels is justice – everybody should have their personal right to pursue whatever they feel is just.
“That’s the case with Felipe here.
“There’s a lot of different parties involved, we’re starting to look back at the past. Where this will end I’ve got no idea.
“I keep a watching brief on it, that’s all I can or want to do. It’s of interest but if it does get flipped, what does that open up at that point in terms of sporting decisions, not only in Formula 1, but in the past?
“That’s not to say that’s right and wrong, I’m not trying to fall on either side of the fence. It’s just a really interesting element of all of this.
“If there is a decision that favours what Felipe’s gone after, that will then be very interesting in general how sport deals with past unjust decisions.”